17 March 2017 at 2:56 pm #310252
I present the poor man’s diamond plate sharpening system. I first came up with this idea based on a blog I read where a guy compared his DMT stones to the inexpensive diamond stones from China. For him, and I as well, they hold up fine for hobby use. And by hobby use, I mean I have sharpened well over 100 times on these and they are just now breaking in a bit. These have given me excellent results for everything I have thrown at it (chisels, plane irons, knives, etc).
One of the biggest hurdles was finding the thin diamond plates in a large enough size. I found them from ebay. The dimension of the plates are: 170mm x 75 mm /6.69″ x 2.95″. That’s close enough to the DMT stones dimensions. It allows you the width of a plane iron without having to angle it. I got 3 of them in grit sizes 240, 500 and 1200. For around $8 each ($24 total shipped)
I then found 1/4″ X 3″ ALUMINUM 6061 FLAT BAR 7″ long from ebay as well. This would make the overall thickness very close to the original DMT stones. I got 4 of them for $14 shipped.
So at this point I am out a whopping $38 for 3 diamond stones that are very close to the overall dimensions of the EZE-Lap ($50 each) or DMT stones ($55 each). You do the math.
I then simply glued the diamond plates to the aluminum bar stock with gorilla glue and clamped them for 24 hours. I figure if these ever do need replacing, can simply pop the old ones off, clean the aluminum bar and glue the new ones in place. I then found some poplar at Lowes (1 x 12 x 24) it was damaged on one end so I got for like $6. I then used Paul’s blog entry on making the diamond plate stone holder https://paulsellers.com/2013/04/making-my-sharpening-plate-holder/
All in all I got 3 diamond plates and it’s holder for $44. That’s quite a bit less than just one of the other guys. Here are the other thousand words I could say.18 March 2017 at 9:32 am #310277Steve BrookesParticipant
Great info – I might actually give this a go as I’ve been putting off buying the stones previously due to the cost. Thanks heaps.18 March 2017 at 3:49 pm #310279EdmundParticipant
I thought about doing the exact same thing some time ago, except instead of aluminum plate I was just going to mount them on some hardwood.
In the end it came down to trust. I just didn’t trust that the cheap diamond plates would be truly flat (to within any reasonable tolerance).
I’m really glad to hear your feedback that after 100 uses, they’re giving excellent results — that’s what I couldn’t evaluate. Great stuff!18 March 2017 at 8:44 pm #310282
I was going to use hardwood (oak) as well, but decided against it due to I didn’t want the liquid I was using for swarf to make the wood swell and then distort the diamond plates.
I don’t know if I can post direct links to the items I bought, so if you want that, please just PM me and I’ll help in any way. Having these plates has greatly improved my overall joy of woodworking. It makes sharpening a breeze.19 March 2017 at 12:51 am #310284Don MossParticipant
Any chance you could provide the seller name or a link?
Don19 March 2017 at 11:59 am #310299
Any chance you could provide the seller name or a link?
Aluminum Bar: http://stores.ebay.com/stonerstoolsandrawmaterials/
It seems that the aluminum bar guy is away right now, but he has an email address you could try. Alternatively, you could buy a longer piece and cut it yourself. Just use the keywords “1/4″ X 3″ ALUMINUM 6061 FLAT BAR”.
And then use a hacksaw to cut it to size.22 March 2017 at 9:01 pm #310398tobiasbilgerParticipant
That sounds like a good option! Thanks.25 March 2017 at 6:36 pm #310509Riley LennonParticipant
Brilliant. I am sick and tired of sharpening on sandpaper; but, I cant afford stones. This looks like a great alternative to try. Thanks for sharing
Riley6 April 2017 at 7:47 pm #310928Craig ChisholmParticipant
Thanks for the info – getting sick of using abrasive paper (even the good stuff with adhesive backing). I ordered the diamond plates today, and picked up the aluminum at a local supplier. Looks like the total cost for 3 stones will be $28 CDN.20 May 2017 at 2:50 am #312137SzoltomiParticipant
I too have ordered a set of similar cheap Chinese diamond plates off Ali Express.
They are about 5$ each, grits are available from 80 to 3000 (sadly I have no idea which standard)
They are 170 mm x 75 mm large and 1 mm thick.
I have ordered five plates (three 400, one 1500 and one 3000 grit) and all of them came near perfectly flat. There is however some slight roughness on the very edges of the plates.
I have glued them onto a plate of fiberboard with PVA glue as a temporary solution but it took such a hold I cannot remove them now. This is an issue since the board may warp from the moisture from the lubricant.
The plates were very sharp and effective when I started using them, taking steel off quickly with even light pressure, but the coating quickly started abrading off, losing effectiveness and cross-contamination became an issue: diamond particles from the coarser plates scratched the finer ones. I caught this quickly, wiping my edges diligently prevented further scratching and the scratches almost completely disappeared as the plates settled in.
After lapping the back faces of my tools flat (3 plane irons and 4 chisels only) the plates mostly settled in, lost no more of their abrading power and stopped releasing scratchy particles.
I have used them for about two months now and they seem to hold their power, which is good enough for honing razor sharp edges or fixing small fractures. They now require moderate pressure to work correctly, Paul’s technique works great here.
I seriously recommend them to anyone with a tight budget, especially to anyone considering the scary sharp system. Even if they keep dulling, they will likely be more cost effective, more accurate and require much less fuss than sandpaper.
11 December 2017 at 1:58 pm #399279Dionysios PParticipant
- This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Szoltomi.
After reading the first posts of this topic I have ordered some of these plates from e-Bay. The cost was about £2.25 (if I remember well) with free shipping.
I have ordered 80, 120, 250, 600, 1200 and 2500 grit. The plates arrived after about 20 days from China. They were mostly flat and, apart of one that has some slight rust marks on the back, in good condition. The edges were a bit rough, but this is not an issue for me.
For the plate holder I had a different approach. Since I already had a Veritas glass plate in hand I used some double sided tape and fixed them on the glass plate. On one side I have put the 120, 250, 600 and 1200 grit plates, since they were these that would be used most, and on the other side the 80 and 2500 grit plates. I use a piece of anti slip mat to keep the glass stable on the bench top and to compensate for the unevenness of the side that has only two diamond plates on.
So after five months of use and abuse (I tend to push hard on the plates when I sharpen) I would like to share my observations:
a) The plates are very sharp when new and the best way to settle them evenly is to flatten an old plane iron using the whole width and length of the plate.
b) When the plates settled I had no issues with uneven diamond particles and I can get razor sharp edges on my tools.
c) They don’t last forever. Mine are showing some signs of wear (after restoring many plane irons and chisels, plus regular sharpening of tools) I expect them to last a year at it’s best, but given the price they are excellent value for money and way cheaper than sandpaper.
e) The most useful grits, for me are 80 (for restoration of badly abused, pitted etc tools) and 250, 600, 1200 (for regular sharpening) so probably I will put all four of them on the same side of the glass and leave the other side clear.
In conclusion, I will back the previous recomendations of these plates since they are easy to use, work well and they have great value for money.19 January 2018 at 9:22 am #442949Ben LehnertParticipant
Yeah, I also ordered a cheap diamond plate from China (free shipping!) that looks kinda like this here: double sided diamond sharpening plate and I’m perfectly happy with how it performs.
Now I know that it won’t last forever, but I have yet to see it get worn out, so I’m satisfied with what I got. I just have to flip it, but that’s a decision I made.19 January 2018 at 9:35 am #442953AlanParticipant
I found this to be okay (in the UK):
Ignore the “Reduced from £55”. They’ve always been £23.
13 March 2020 at 6:29 pm #652998
Paul just blogged about this very method. I have been using these same plates for 3 years now, and they still do all of my sharpening just fine.26 June 2021 at 10:01 pm #718741
After 4 years of regular use and some abuse (i used the coarse grit to correct a number of badly damaged blades) I just replaced the 240 with a 180, mostly because I wanted a fresh stone. The old one still works well, but not as coarse as I want. It took me all of 5 minutes to replace and $8 for the new diamond stone. I can’t recommend this method enough for the budget minded woodworker.
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